Our best and brightest young people ignite hope | Opinion

From the Tallahassee Democrat

This past weekend I had the privilege of serving as a judge in the music category of the Best & Brightest Awards, which recognize and honor Leon County’s excelling high school seniors. The awards take into consideration not only grade point average, but also community service and civic duty.

I have been honored to serve as judge for this outstanding program many times, and our community should be proud of the incredible young people we are growing through our schools and their mentors.

In a time when we all seek hope, it is inspiring to see these students committed to a better future for our community, our nation and the world. Over the years I have encountered students who have fed and clothed the homeless, raised thousands of dollars for sick children, started nonprofits, tutored children and adults in need, regularly played music in nursing homes and worked tirelessly on environmental issues.

Those activities are in addition to serving as school leaders: class presidents, band presidents, LGBTQ society presidents, National Honor Society presidents and founders of school music clubs.

These students ignite hope with their optimism, intelligence and creative ideas about the future that awaits us. They are engaged, educated and connected to Tallahassee and our world — indeed, they are global citizens.

My lens has been through the music category and is only a taste of the talent within our community. Some participants aspire to change individual students’ lives as music educators; others hope to change the world with big aspirations to become industry producers.

The drive in these young people to make a difference is awe-inspiring. Their passion to be agents of change is humbling. I thank Laura Rogers, Ron Sachs, the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Envision Credit Union for illuminating our best and brightest. They elevate us all as a community.

Amanda Stringer is the CEO of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, adjunct professor of Arts Administration at FSU and parent of two teenage children.